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ERIC Number: ED260344
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Divorced Fathers Describe Their Current and Former Spouses: An Investigation of "Splitting".
Guisinger, Shan; Schuldberg, David
Splitting, a primitive defense mechanism of young children in confusing or ambivalent situations, in psychoanalytic theory is characteristic of those with borderline or narcissistic diagnoses. It may recur in adults negotiating co-parenting relationships following divorce and remarriage. Two types of splitting may occur: self-other in which the other is seen as different from the self; and object-object in which the other is seen as different from a different other (in this case the present and former spouse). To investigate a consistent pattern of devaluation of women by their former husbands, 63 divorced fathers, 39 in their first year and 24 in their third to fifth year of remarriage, were studied. Participants completed the Adjective Checklist four times, describing themselves, their spouse, their children's mother (former spouse) and their ideal self. Analysis of the husband's descriptions showed that in their negative evaluations of their ex-wives husbands tended to contrast the present and former spouse and not themselves and the former spouse. Several trait domains were starkly polarized in this splitting process especially interpersonal power, interpersonal expressiveness, and impulse control. Although there may be reality-based explanations for husbands' devaluations of their ex-spouse, splitting is a useful construct for understanding the intrapsychic mechanisms influencing these reactions. The data suggest the widespread use of splitting in a non-clinical population. (MCF)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A